Omagh accused 'planned to ship weapons into school'

Dissident Republicans planned to ship weapons and ammunition from the US to a school in Donegal, the Omagh civil court case heard today.

Dissident Republicans planned to ship weapons and ammunition from the US to a school in Donegal, the Omagh civil court case heard today.

The landmark lawsuit, being taken against five men said to be responsible for the worst atrocity of the Northern conflict, heard the address of the school in Ballyshannon was given to an FBI agent who infiltrated the Real IRA.

The unprecedented hearing, which is taking evidence in Dublin, was told David Rupert passed the evidence on to gardaí who were probing terrorist activity on both sides of the boarder.

The £14m (€17.6m)-civil action by six families is against five men they believe are responsible for the RIRA blast, which killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins.

Michael McKevitt, the alleged leader of the RIRA, Liam Campbell, said to be his number two, Colm Murphy, Seamus McKenna and Seamus Daly all deny any involvement in the bomb attack in the Co Tyrone town on a busy Saturday afternoon in August 1998.

Detective Inspector Diarmuid O’Sullivan, of the special detective unit, said five statements were taken from Rupert who, on January 20 2001 in Chicago, handed over a brown enveloped containing a number of documents which he claimed he got from McKevitt.

The envelope included a business card from auctioneer Joe O’Neill and handwritten on the back was “Kathleen Askin, Vocational School, College Street, Ballyshannon”.

“This was the address that was supplied to Mr Rupert to ship military supplies from the US for the continuity IRA,” said Det Insp O’Sullivan.

A piece of paper with the name and address of a man in Worcester, Massachusetts, was also handed to officers.

“David Rupert indicated that this was the person that Michael McKevitt instructed him to meet in the US to conduct his affairs,” the detective told the court.

The envelope also included the name of a man who would act as a go between for a journalist at the Chicago Sun and McKevitt, a number of receipts for the Republican Prisoners Welfare Association, and a photograph of Rupert with a another male.

Mr O’Sullivan said Rupert also identified three properties in Dundalk, Co Louth, which he maintained had been in when he was involved with the terrorist group. They included McKevitt’s family home.

When later arrested, McKevitt told gardaí he could not recall meeting Rupert - who was 6ft 7in and weighed 20 stone.

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